Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Confessions of a Blogger

A new writer in residence. . .if only it wouldn't be on the walls or floors!
Confession: I can't stand the site of the clothes I wore in Russia! Fortunately, it hasn't been an issue until the last couple of days, which have been much cooler than it had been. I'd just rather not wear the jeans and shirts that I word three and four times without washing. . .And I don't care if I never see Pat's Sloopy Joe's Tshirt again!

We've been home two weeks now and life has slipped into a groove. Aidan has been very clingy and wants to be held all of the time today. I don't think he has been feeling very well. I'm pretty is sure it's because of the pollen. Virginia is deep into the Spring thing right now. . .

Since our horrible Sunday, Aidan has been pretty good. Changeable, but still good. Monday we took him to Gander Mountain in Winchester, which is an outdoors store that specializes in hunting paraphanalia. We went to purchase some camoflage for him with some money he had received. The only thing they had for toddlers had a trike stitched into the front with the words "My first ATV." I'm going to order him something from Cabelas when we get closer to Fall. He won't be hunting, so don't think I'd allow a gun anywhere near my little guy! But, he will go scouting with Daddy when the time comes.

On the way home from Gander Mountain, we hadn't even gotten out of Winchester when we experienced our first bout of projectile vomit. It wasn't pretty. . .The back of the Neon and the second car seat required a thorough scrubbing down. I don't know what caused the bout, but at least it didn't last! And, Aidan did not have a fever and he seemed fine after ward, except for wanting to be cleaned up right away! Who wouldn't!

Yesterday, we went to Lowe's and bought some bedding plants for Aidan to help me with--hopefully on Friday. After that, we went and picked up Pat's mom and dad and took everyone out to dinner. Aidan goes out to dinner so good! I'm very impressed with him in this regard as, until us, he had never gone out to dinner!

While out, we discovered that he can say 'Car'. I suspect he can say much much mores. Because, when we got home, Pat gave him a bath and then took him up to bed. But, on the way, Pat told Aidan to tell Mama he loves her. Normally, his response is "NO!" But, this time he looked at me, said "Bye-Bye, Mama, I love you!" I was so stunned! It brought tears to my eyes. As I said, I think the little guy will wake up one day and just start spouting off all kinds of words. . .

Today he got up and was clingy all day and whined to be picked up all day long. No fever, but I just don't think he feels well. I'm not sure if it is a cold or allergies or what. But, he stayed good all day.

Tonight a friend brought us dinner. Yummy! Salad with chicken and strawberrys, bread, mozzerella and tomato salad and a nice white wine. Lovely! It was the second dinner brought to us and I can't tell you how wonderful and helpful that is!

Aidan went to bed a few minutes ago with no problem at all and now I am off to bed myself. Tired. . . Must get up early to run and shower. . .

Blessings!
Stacy

Monday, April 28, 2008

One Day in the life of Aidan Josef Harrison

Okay, so I borrowed the theme from another author. . . Solzhenitsyn this time!

But, first, more pictures: this time lunch with peanut butter and jelly with a side of milk-which we now loooovvvveee!

Enjoying our first pb&j sandwich

Discovering the sticky feel of jelly. fun! Loving the taste and texture!
Starting to fall asleep while still chewing . . .

Gone!
7:00ish: wake up. Get diaper changed. laugh with Mama.
7:30 to 8:00: eat breakfast
8:00 to 8:30: get cleaned up, dressed, comb our hair, brush our teeth.
8:30 to 11:30: play (preferably outside-throw a tantrum if we don't go out), run errands with Mama if she has any to do, get into as much mischief as I can, spend a couple of time outs. Yell and scream when it is time to come in for lunch (until the food is put in front of me, that is!)
11:30 to 12:30: LUNCH!!!
12:30 to 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 or even sometimes (blessedly for Mama) 3:00! Nap time
Whenever I wake up to 6:00: Play (again, preferably outside), get into mischief, spend a couple more time outs, sometimes dance with Mama, go on errands with Mama and Daddy if they have some to do.
6:00ish: DINNER!!! I even ate Mama's spaghetti last night! YUM!
After dinner: Play until bathtime.
7:30: Bath time (this is especially fun! I pretend I am swimming in a pool! And there are toys and stuff that I can throw around in the tub and make a big splash! Then I can watch Mama or Daddy wipe up all the water from the walls and floor!)
After Bath: Play until Bedtime.
9:00: Bedtime (Scream and cry for about 5 minutes and then fall asleep!)
Generally, a fun time is had by all!
So, seriously folks, yesterday was a trying day for us. The morning was what I would call a Jonah Day. Aidan was tired and very uncooperative all morning. About five time outs later, I seriously wondered if I should attempt church with him by myself. But, I went ahead and did it. And, as God would see fit, he was an absolute angel for the entire time we were there! He sat quietly and even folded his hands in prayer during prayers. I took him to Childrens Chapel and he loved it! He was very attentive to the lady doing the message. When we went back, he was good as gold during the Eucharistic Prayer and then processed up to the altar with me very quietly. He even seemed reverent while up at the altar! He was happy to receive his blessing and watched me received the wafer and wine. Then back to our seat quietly and happily! He didn't get fidgety until the very last hymn while the cross was processing back out! I was so proud of him!
Then we got home again. . .and the devil came back. I gave him his lunch and he just threw is around the kitchen, fed some to the dogs (does peanut butter and jelly hurt dogs??), pulled and pinched Maggies nose, and then pinched my arm so hard I now have a bruise! But, I cleaned him up and put him to bed where he slept for 2 1/2 hours! He was tired, the poor little guy! Probably got worn out being so good at church! : ) While he slept, I received a few phone calls with helpful advice on how to deal with the monster boy. At that point, all I wanted was some peace and quiet and rest! But, I appreciated the advice and will refer back to it soon.
When he got up from his nap, my darling angel was back. We had an awesome afternoon and evening with him! He ate dinner nicely, had a good bath, played well with both Mama and Daddy and only whimpered a little when Daddy put him to bed!
I love it when the day ends well!
Blessings!
Stacy








Saturday, April 26, 2008

More pictures

Surveying the scene
Helping Daddy build the vegetable garden fence--although bunny rabbits are cute, we like to eat the green beans, too!




Loving on Mosby--Maggie had her turn!

Aidan kisses for Mama!
Getting used to Daddy on the ride to the hotel from the orphanage

On the Leesburg Court House steps

You can pay 20 rubles on Arbat to use the Portapotty! That only about .75 or .80 cents US! : )

Aidan and some of the other kids hanging out in front of Red Square.

This is not actually the center of Russia, but from this spot, all things are measured. It is directly in front of the entrance to Red Square.

Time sure flies, these days! We get up, eat breakfast, play or run errands for a couple of hours, have lunch, take a nap, play for a couple of hours, eat dinner, take a bath and then it's bedtime! Another day done. . .I have to make a list of things to do just to get my usual chores done! I won't even discuss the things I thought I would have time to do. . .

We have confirmed Aidan's baptism and it is scheduled for May 18th at the 10:30 service at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Sterling. I'm hoping to finish printing the announcements and invitation to an Open House following today and get them in the mail. I guess our morning errand today will be to the Post Office for stamps! Next week I will take him to St. Matthew's for a visit so he can meet Fr. Rob. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to meet on baptism day for the first time!

Aidan continues to amaze us with how well he is doing adjusting to life with us. He continues to be afraid of loud noises: lawn mowers of all kinds, weed whackers, garage door opener, vacuum, dish washer, and even a low flying airplane (we have a small airport here in Leesburg). I know he will be okay with time, but for now we just tell him a loud noise is about to happen, hold him while it does and then tell him it's okay.

Aidan loves animals of all kinds. So, I think we'll take him to the Horse and Pony show at Upperville in early June. The day we like to go is the final jumping show and it's a great time for a nice picnic. We'll be able to take him around and show him all of the horses and ponys before the show starts and then get a good spot to watch the jumping and have our picnic. That should be a lot of fun!

Today we will be back out in the yard cleaning up the gardens. Aidan helped me clean up the ones around the patio yesterday. I'm hoping to get the front garden and the herb garden done today. Maybe tomorrow we can work on the Iris and butterfly gardens. . .Then, all we will have is the side garden that faces the street. Last night, he helped Pat build the fence around the vegetable garden and next week I'll get him to help me with planting annuals in some of the gardens and pots for the patio and deck. I know he'll love it because he loves anything having to do with outside! Last night, during bath time, we had to pay special attention to his fingernails, which were black with dirt! What a boy he is!
Aidan's love of music continues. So far, he doesn't seem to not like any type of music. Of course, Pat has pushed Country and I have pushed Classical, but his particular favorite is U2. Everytime I have on the Alternative Station on Sirius and they play U2, he stops, listens and then starts bouncing to the beat. It's so cute! And, I think he likes REM, too! What a good kid!

Thoughts about Russia:

I can't help remembering how, when we were in Krasnoyarsk (was that only 2 1/2 weeks ago???), I felt like I was living in a Kurt Vonnegut story. It was that strange.

Although Moscow was nice (you can do it in probably two days--including Gorky Park!) I don't think I'm going to get to see Prague, Budapest, or even Istanbul. I think Pat is over Eastern Europe!

My theory on the loud speakers in Kras: They did not look new, so I imagine they may have originally been used to dessiminate information to the population--propoganda, perhaps??? They are used now to play music constantly, which after a while really wears you down because there is always noise happening, but can you imagine the mind control that could happen with the use of the loud speakers??? Whoa! Back in a Kurt Vonnegut story. . .

More later.

Blessings,

Stacy

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Settling In

Here are a few pictures, before and after the hair cut and showing the cool shades from Aunty Amy and loving on Maggie!







Aidan is settling in so well, it's almsot scary! He is copying us in so many ways with our behavior: yesterday he started folding his hands during prayer, even though he would really rather start eating! He is afraid of loud noises: garage door opener and vacuum so we're working on getting him to know he is not in any danger with that.
Sunday was our first family experience at church. Aidan did pretty good. It was hard to sit still so long, though. Next week we'll try Children's Chapel. That afternoon, we did a family cookout, and we discovered he loves chesseburgers! Just like Daddy. . .
We had rain the last few days, which was hard. Aidan loves being outside and anything having to do with being outside. So, I've been taking him out on errands. We have been to Target so much, I think I should buy stock in that store. I had to laugh yesterday, though. It appears that moms of toddlers take their children to Target. I was one of many there at 9:00 am sharp!
Aidan calls the Tahoe "Mama's BB" We went to fill it up yesterday and, needless to say, that hurt! When I got back in the car, I told Aidan that Mama's BB said "sluuuuurrrrrppp!" when I put gas in it. We had a laugh fest over that one! Then he fell asleep, as he usually does in Mama's BB!
Today was our first post placement Social Worker visit. It went really well. We talked for a very long time and we are all in concurrence that Aidan is doing remarkably well and is an intelligent young little guy! I already knew that!
Aidan doesn't really seem to be suffering from a bad form of Attachment Disorder, although I do think there may be some there. Yesterday, a friend of mine visited with her 14 month old daughter. I picked the littel girl up, who was so light I was afraid I might throw her through the ceiling because I'm so used to Aidan! When Aidan saw her in my arms he came over and hugged my leg and then reached up wanting me to pick him up! I loved it, but I know I should encourage that.
Anyway, that's it for now. Oh, and here's an awesome blog http://www.thejergerjourney.blogspot.com/. This is the couple we were with our Trip #2 and the little girl, Ellie, is adorable!
Blessings,
Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Sunday, April 20, 2008

First Sunday back

Sunday. Today is Passover for the Jewish Community and it also marks the beginning of Holy Week for the Orthodox community. Aidan comes from an Orthodox country. Should we mark it in some way for him? Should we recognize the Orthodox Easter, which is next Sunday? Or should we move right into the liturgical calendar of our church? Things to think on. . .

Today we will head to church. . .the first time since Palm Sunday for me and Pat and the first time ever for Aidan! I can't wait to see how he reacts/acts. We'll keep him with us during the service, but will likely take him to Children's Chapel during the Gospel reading and sermon.

This afternoon we will have a cookout with Grandma June and Grandpa Van. Aunty Becky and Uncle Bob will be here, too. It may be a rainy cookout, though. We woke up this morning to a Spring time thunder storm. Another first for Aidan and he slept right through it! Mama, on the other hand, was worried about how he would react--would he be scared?--and so got up about 6:00 am. Not a peep from him and it is now 7:30!

Aidan hasn't been napping well the last couple of days so he gets a little grumpy in the afternoon. I think it is a combination of things: he doesn't want to miss anything; and he is getting about 11 hours at night; adnd he is likely still trying to adjust to the time change--a week and a half ago we were still in Krasnoyarsk which is 12 hours different! I'm struggling still to adjust to that change!

Our friends Bill and Tamara should be getting custody of Anja soon. Please keep them in your prayers as they finish the process there in Russia. I know they are anxious now to end things there and get back home! They certainly have not had an easy time with it.

We're thinking of taking a long weekend at the beach sometime in late May or early June. We have plenty of Marriott reward points after these trips to pay for it without paying any cash! probably won't even make a dent in what we have earned in points! It will be so much fun to see Aidan's reaction to the ocean and the sand! I can't wait! I think we'll probably do Virginia Beach--it's closest( about a 3 hour drive) and we can't bear the thought of traveling more than that right now!

Pictures tomorrow of the hair cut (it's really cute!) our first cook out, and possibly of church.

Blessings!
Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Friday, April 18, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig!

Home. . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I can't evn begin to describe how good it is to be home! I'm sooooo happy!!! I love the US!

Aidan did pretty good, all things considered, on the flight from Moscow to Atlanta. Remember, it's an almost 11 hour flight! He was fidgety and needed to be walked around the plane a few times, but up to about the 4 or 5 hour mark, that was about it. Then he threw a tantrum, threw his sippy cup at the guy behind us (who was NOT happy about it!) and then threw himself on the floor between our seats crying. That's where he initially fell asleep. We eventually moved him up onto the seat between us where he continued to sleep the rest of the flight! He was an absolute angel going to Customs and Immigration, getting checked into our second flight to Dulles and then on the flight to Dulles. In fact, w e had people coming up to us at baggage to ooh and aah over him and to tell us they didn't even know he was on the flight! That's our good boy!

We finally got home at 11:30 pm Eastern time, having left the hotel in Moscow at about 9:00 am Moscow time. That equates to 22 1/2 hours of traveling during which Aidan slept about 10 hours, I slept about 3 and Pat maybe 1.

Aidan walked into the house, took a look around, and then got so excited about everything, we were up until 1:30 am showing him everything. He loves his new home!

We're exhausted, though. Trying to deal with an 8 hour time change, on top of having just barely gotten used to a 4 hour time change and also keep up with an almost two year old, it's a lot! But, we're loving it. And, I think Aidan already realizes that this is all his. He has adapted and adjusted so well--way beyond our fantasies!

One final note for now, Aidan has discovered grass and looooovvvveeeesss it! When we go outside, he looks at it in wonder, bends down to feel it, picks some and shows it to us, and then points all around him in such excitement! It is just heart wrenching to think these children never see grass or shrubs or even flowers! The few trees they have are only in leaf about three or four months out of the year. I can't wait until he see the fall colors!

Observations on being home:


As I mentioned, everything is green! It was startling to us, who are used to it, but Aidan is going nuts about it! And there are bushes (Russia doesn't have any!) and flowers (again, none in Russia) and our grass needs cutting!

Taco Bell isn't so bad. In fact, it is quite good! Especially if you have lived on Russian food for a month!



We may not have a 24 YACA store (24 hour store), but our choices are wider and better!

We have over 600 channels to choose from n TV and only one is in Russian! : ) We're not going to go to that one for a while, I think.

This weekend is the Flower and Garden Festival in Leesburg!!! I can't wait and I'm sooooo glad to be home for that and to take Aidan to it! He's going to go nuts!

Here is Aidan playing on the children's bouncy thing at the Hard Rock Cafe.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Paca Russia!

More Pictures!

Just having some fun!

Trying on Mommy's shoes
All tuckered out from shopping on Arbat!
Looking for trouble. . .And I found it!

You can pay 20 rubles to use the restrooms while shopping on Arbat!

The family in front of St. Basil's

The Redskin's newest fan!

Hanging out with Daddy before bedtime. . .

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nearly done!

I promise to post more pictures tomorrow. . .everything is just a lot more expensive here in Moscow, so free is good!

Arbat was fun yesterday. Aidan was pretty good, too! We only had one minor meltdown where we had to scold him and that was because he wanted to hit Pat--he was hungry and tired, so I don't think that will be a behavior that is lasting. . .He loved being out and about all day and was really good at bedtime again. In fact, he practiclly fell asleep before we got him in his bed!

We're really ready to go home now. Soon! All we have left is our Consulate work. . .

Observations about Russia:

Russians stare and laugh at us Americans because we wear white sneakers. . .and yet they wear gold sneakers or spike heels everywhere!

It seems like everything is paved in Russia. . .

It's been nearly 20 years since the end of the Soviet Union as we used to know it and yet many of the buildings still carry the Hammer and the Sickle symbol. . .what's up with that???

Until tomorrow,

Blessings!

Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Visa in hand!

Yesterday we took Aidan to the US Embassy to get his birth certificate back along with his passport with visa. It wasn't too terrible of a trip and interview aside from the screaming baby. . .Aidan couldn't help it! They scheduled us for right in the middle of his nap time! Anyway, he is now legal to immigrate to the US. Once we get off the plane in Atlanta, he will then be a legal US citizen!

I have to confess that when we arrived at the Embassy, we walked into a room where the US Flag was displayed. . .I got weepy when I saw it. . .in fact, I still do now just thinking about it! I love our country so much!! It will be good to get home and see our flag flying everywhere again. Please don't misunderstand. . .this has been an awesome trip with a reward beyond measure! But, we are sooooooooooo lucky to be Americans! I will never take that priviledge for granted.

Today we are heading out to Arbat Street in order to do a little sight seeing and souvenir shopping. We will have a little more leway on the weight of our bags since we now have another person. . .And that is a souvenir that we can't pack!

Aidan is calling me Mommy and Pat Daddy already. It is really fun to hear him yell "Mommy!" at the top of his lungs! Last night we had a giggle fest after bath time and before bed. Then when it was time for bed, Aidan was totally ready and barely even whimpered. Today should be a really good day.

We met another couple from Atlanta last night at TGI Fridays. They were on their referral trip and laughed when they saw our table of 6 adults and 4 kids all two years old and under. We had our waiter hopping, but the other coupled loved seeing it and were looking forward to their second trip.

Blessings!

Stacy, Pat and Adian

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Moscow, Day 2!

Another picture


Me standing by Aidan's crib at the orphanage.

Aidan’s medical has been completed. He is a healthy boy of normal size—28 pounds and about 2 ½ feet tall! He’s a big boy, according to us, but he is a cutie!

We’re struggling with the time change issue—4 hour time difference from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow. I’m hoping we can catch up over the next few days before we do the 8 hour time change!!! Yikes! I wonder what kind of a monster we’ll have after that?!?! No matter. He’s still my lovable and cute little boy! We went to bed at 6:00 last night (for Aidan after meltdown number 50) and 8:00 (for us after our 5th meltdown : )) but we were up at and ‘em this morning at a quarter to 4:00. Hopefully we’ll adjust a couple more hours today.

We’re all getting adjusted to being a family of three. This morning, we were laughing and running around the lobby of the hotel—yes, I’m sure they all just love us!—and Aidan would yell “Mama—Mommy!!” and run into my arms. Then, he would run back to Pat, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Daddy!!” I did see a few smiles, especially on the bell boy’s faces. . .They won’t see us again, so we just had fun! The bell boys are great. . .they help run interference for us at the automatic doors, which Aidan is heavy enough to trigger! Truthfully, I think they like the distraction of the children that come through here.

We’re really looking forward to coming home now. I think we’re tired of not hearing English spoken. However, there are so many English channels here in Moscow (about 6!), we’re never too sure what to watch! In honor of home, we have dressed Aidan in Redskins clothes a couple of times. Of course, when we go out and about, this only makes us more glaringly American. . .Oh well!

A couple of interesting observations:

On a trashcan outside the medical clinic, there was a small sign, in English, that said “Smoking can cause a slow painful death!” We had to laugh since it was written only in English! And, everyone here smokes, except the Americans! Go figure!

The people here in Moscow are much more tolerant of us Americans than they were in Krasnoyarsk. . .however, we’re still taking Aidan’s winter coat with us everywhere just in case a Babushka comes up to us and says “ ny, ny, ny!” and shakes her finger at us silly Americans taking our baby outside in the mid-60 degree weather with nothing but a light Spring jacket!

American's tend to stick together here in Russia. I guess we find strength in numbers. And, we have further divided ourselves: not into groups of Adoption agencies, but by Orphanage! It's pretty funny because each family tends to take ownership of the orphanage where their child came from. For instance, one can hear us saying. . . "Well, at our orphange, . . ." We did take a group picture today, though. And we didn't even situate ourselves by orphanage. . .however, we did separate by orphanage as we departed Red Square!

After our nap, which is blessedly now, we’re going to take Aidan to Red Square. We’re hoping to get a few good pictures of him in front of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s. But, we have to sleep first. No temper tantrums in Red Square, please! It just wouldn’t do to fling oneself on the ground and pound the ground with our hands and feet!
Bill and Tamara Holsinger-Robinson got a "Da!" Thank you for the prayers for them. . .Thanks be to God they can now move forward into becoming the family they were meant to be!

More soon!

Blessings,

Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Update on Prayer Request

Prayer is such a powerful tool!

Nap time for the boys, so I thought I'd update you on our friends still in Krasnoyarsk. Our friends, Bill and Tamara Holsinger-Robinson found out this morning that the biological mother of their daughter, Anja, has consented to give up all rights to Anja. Thanks be to God! Please keep them in your prayers as they return to court, hopefully today, and that they will received a "Da!" from the judge.

Blessings!!

Stacy

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prayer Request

I decided to make this a separate post. . .

Please pray for Tamara and Bill Holsinger-Robinson. They are the couple who were on the first trip to see their daughter when we came to Russia to meet Aidan last November. They are wonderful folks. They had their court date on Tuesday and received an answer similar to ours: they were not given a yes because the Ministry of Education did not do a final check with the mother that the child was truly available for adoption. Apparantly, the mother had come back about a year ago and indicated that she might come back for the daughter at some time. There has been no word about the mother since that time. . .The Director of our orphanage went to the mothers town today to see about getting the final signature making the child available for adoption. Please pray that God sees Tamara and Bill through this time of stress and sorrow and that the outcome is His will. They are such good people. . .I know that they would be wonderful parents to Anja. . .

Blessings,

Stacy and Pat

Back in Moscow

Well, we made it. We got Aidan up this morning at 4:00--I would take bets that he has never seen that hour before. . .and we are currently working on about our tenth meltdown for the day. The kid has some lungs! And some strength behind his hands and feet. . .I am hoping I don't bruise too badly! : ) He really can't help it. He got up 3 hours early and really only napped for a 1/2 hour rather than the usual 2 1/2. And, when we got into Moscow, we couldn't go to the hotel right away because we had to have his Visa picture done. We'll make an early night of it . . . I think Mama and Daddy need it, too.

Tomorrow, we will be out the door early--before 8:00 am Moscow time for our medical and initial Embassy visit. Friday we have our Embassy interview and then we should have Aidan's visa in hand after that--as long as all goes well! We gave Phillip our Embassy paperwork when we arrived at the hotel and he will file all the initial documents on our behalf.

We also handed over Aidan's birth certificate that we received along with his Russian passport and will get all of that back with the visa on Friday. After that, all we'll have left to do is the Registration at the Russian Consulate. Then, we're good to go. . .a week from now we'll be on our way home!

So, on that note, I will end with saying that we are at the same Marriott as before in Moscow and now in Room 711.

Until later,

Blessings and prayer requests for good rest for Aidan Josef (who has been called his full name all day long, poor little guy!)

Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Paca Krasnoyarsk!

Passport received!!! We're going back to Moscow, baby! We're still waiting for Aidan's birth certificate, but we should have that within the hour. We're busy packing our bags and trying to figure out how to manuever them and a baby and a stroller. . .we'll get it, I'm sure! We're very happy to be heading back West again. Just getting to Moscow will be a nice change of scenery.

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel very early tomorrow morning. We'll arrive back in Moscow at about8:00 am Moscow time (Midnight Eastern US time).

Until tomorrow,

Blessings,
Stacy

Possible travel delay

So, we're just waiting to get Aidan's Russian passport now. There may be a day delay due to the day delay from Court. Hopefully not. We're ready to move on. . .

Aidan is doing great! He has bonded with Pat, as well as with me. He loves to run up and down the halls (about all there is to do here) and play with Daddy. Then he runs back and into Mama's arms. Bath time continues to be fun time and bed time continues to be a little bit of crying time. However, nap time today (right now) Aidan fell asleep two minutes after I put him in bed! That was the quickest yet.

The stroller has been invaluable for getting us out and moving around town. I recommend you bring one! It can be dropped at the gate for no extra charge.

One thing to know: The weight limit flying from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk is 20 kilos per person--that is quite a bit less than the 50 pound limit that we are allowed from the US to Moscow.

More later.

Stacy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two days in Kras left!

Nap time. . .

Aidan has begun to fight sleep time in a big way! I think he is afraid he is going to miss something. Do you all remember feeling that way? Pretty funny. I pat his back for several minutes while he squirms, fighting the inevitable sleep to come, and then he crashes. Last night I tried to stop patting twice, both times well before he had fully crashed. He turned over, reached up to me and I started patting again. He immediately flipped back over and resumed his process of going to sleep.

Our days are measured by eating, playing and then nap or sleep time. Each evening we have our bath, too. We is not used euphemistically either. . .we all and the entire bathroom get a bath! : ) But, it is fun time. Aidan loves baths!

Today he has begun to struggle when we change his diaper. I'm not sure why and am hoping that will stop soon. Hopefully it is a passing thing. He got up a half hour early this morning and has missed about 2 hours sleep in total since Friday from what he is used to so I think he is just exhausted. He's being really good, though, especially when you consider all of the changes he has had over the last few days. I think once we get home and he is on a routine that will remain the same he'll do even better. He's such a cute little guy with the best laugh that it is hard to get too worried about the diaper or sleep time issues.

Tomorrow is our last day in Krasnoyarsk. We're looking forward to a change in scenery with our return to Moscow. We'll be there for a week and then home again!

I haven't properly thanked you all for your continued prayers lately. We really appreciate them!

Blessings and much love,

Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sosnovoborsk



This is Sosnovoborsk. The building is typical in Siberia. . .and Sosnovoborsk is full of these. The sign above the building says Sosnovoborsk in Russian. . .The orphanage is not far from this buiding and makes this building look like the Ritz. . .

Starting Week 3 in Siberia!

Now that Aidan is with us, I have noticed that time has sped up exponentially. While here in Krasnoyarsk, pre-Aidan, time was dragging slllllloooooowwwwllllyyy by. Now, post-Aidan, I blink and the morning is gone. Another blink and it is evening. One final blink and we’re getting up to do our morning routine again. Crazy! I’m sure every parent notices this, but it is so pronounced!

Today we went to the Travellers Coffee Shop for breakfast with the kids. Aidan likes the Crepes there (so do I). Now he smells like Strawberry jam. This Coffee Shop is one of the places here we discovered that serves good food and good coffee. And they have Wi Fi, too. There is a grocery store right by it so we’re able to stop in there for supplies on the way back to the hotel.

I have found that I like Pringles potato chips. Normally, I don’t. But, they are one of the few American items we can find in the grocery store and make a great snack for me. And, they are a lot better than the meat flavored potato chips we tried the other day! Yech!

It’s almost nap time, but our little terror (go figure! And isn’t that great? J) isn’t tired yet. So, Pat is out running the hotel hallways with him to burn some energy. I went out to check on them a little while ago and Pat pointed at me and said “Where’s Mama?” Aidan turned and laughed and ran down the hall for me. Our boy is going to grow up and be a Linebacker!

We’re looking forward to going back to Moscow in a couple of days. It will be a lot of fun to take Aidan down to Red Square and take some pictures of our munchkin. But, we can’t forget where we were just a few days ago. I can't seem to get the pictures in on this post, so they will be separate.

Until next time!

Blessings,
Stacy, Pat and Aidan

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Break through on the last Visit!!!

Yesterdays visit was awesome! We had a major break through with Aidan. When he arrived in the playroom, he didn't whimper or cry as he usually does (it only lasts about a minute when he does) and he came right over to us. This time, we left the things we usually bring in the backpack and he came over and started taking everything out himself. All of a sudden he looked up at us, smiled and started laughing. He was this way the entire two hour visit. It was so wonderful!

Aidan really connected with Pat, too. The two of them are going to be terrors in sneakers and jeans. Let me tell you. But, I love it!

When we returned to the hotel, we arranged our change to a suite for today at noon. We will now be in Room 450. Our driver and coordinator will pick us up about 5:00 this afternoon, which is the time our ten day wait ends, and we will head back to Sosnovoborsk for our final trip. We have packed the bags for the move and arranged the backpack with the clothes we will put on Aidan. He will wear this cute LLBean shirt and jeans, just like Papa's. I can't wait for that picture! We also have to bring the snow jacket, pants, hat, boots and mittens. . .well, the Russians like to make sure the babies are warm. . .

I can't wait to share pictures with you all. Hopefully, the Wi Fi will work tomorrow and we'll be able to do so. He is an absolute doll. You'll love his smile!

Tuesday we will get Aidan's passport and then head back to Moscow on Wednesday morning.

More tomorrow. Keep us in your prayers and we transition to a three person family!

Blessings,
Stacy and Pat. . .and in a few hours Aidan, too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

One more day to visit!

We were back to our usual morning visit at the orphanage today. It's a little disruptive in the morning because each group comes in one at a time for music. Today, Aidan's group came in. When he saw his caretaker, he freaked out and wanted to go to her. She was told to leave and he immediately settled down and snuggled into my lap. I know he will be better once we have him away from the orphanage.

We played a lot today and did some fun things with Aidan. He smiled a few times. I am looking forward to the time when he will smile more spontaneously and without us having to work so hard for it. But, that time will come.

We have one more day to visit, tomorrow, and were told today that it will be in the afternoon. I do like the afternoon visits because we get to see Aidan at the calm point of his day--he has had lunch and a nap. . .He does like to eat and today he drank an entire bottle of tea. . .we won't be doing the tea thing once he's out of there, but he does tea daily now. Crazy to start a toddler on caffeine! Tomorrow we will go back to the Toy Store (one of our daily places to visit) to buy the umbrella stroller. Then, on Friday, we will leave the hotel, after transferring to a larger suite, around 5:00 pm to pick up Aidan. Then, he'll be ours forever! I hope he likes us. . .

I have to tell you of a few things we have observed the last few days: First, we have discovered a new bird. We will take a picture of it and post it with many others when we can use the Wi Fi more consistantly. The bird looks like a cross between a crow and a hawk and so we have named it the Siberian Crowhawk. It works, too. Second, there is constant noise here. Even when the door to our room is closed. . .Outside it's the speakers that are contantly blaring music and inside the hotel it is people walking down the wood floor hallways with the stilleto heels and
slamming doors. Pat, though, is loving the Dorm life!

Finally, last night we went to this place called the Irish Pub. Friends, it was definitely a pub, but not so Irish. They served German beer, it was very smokey and I think I would have had a concussion if someone had hit me in the head with my steak! Tonight we're trying Balkan. . .hmmmm. . .

Until tomorrow!

Blessings,
Stacy

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sunday's Tour of Krasnoyarsk

We spent our day off touring Krasnoyarsk. We went all over. We saw all of the symbols shown on the 10 ruble bill.

We were picked up at the hotel at 12:00 and taken first to the other side of the Yeniesey River, First we went up to an overlook that we could look down over the river. We could also see the ski slopes from this site. The monument here was about the fish that can be caught in the river. . .large Sturgeon.

Next we were taken to a poet’s house. He lived in this home, which is now a museum, until he went to the University. The home later became his dachau, or summer home. This picture is from his babushkas house where he was raised after his mother drowned in the river. His babushka had what was called a “beautiful corner” in her home where the family would have prayer and worship time each day. With the money he made, he built a church and a library in his town. Many of the farm items shown were very similar to early American farm items. However, the tour lady at the museum also provided home made Russian pancakes for us to try. Very yummy!

After the poet’s home, we were taken to the hydro electric dam. From this spot, much of Russia gains electrical power. It was nice to be out of the city to see trees and mountains!

We then travelled back toward the city and were taken for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant. At this point, things got really interesting as our driver ordered a bottle of vodka and instructed us in how to drink it. We were given a shot and told how to drink three times 1) to health; 2) to the ladies present 3) to the one we love. We ladies were allowed to drink one shot for all three whereas the men were given three shots, one for each toast!

Then we travelled to a cemetery where we were shown a grave of a lady who had come from California to be with her love and the man left before she got here to go to California to be with her. Of course neither was ever able to reunite with the other because of the times and each died pining for the other.

After that we were shown the Krasnoyarsk military monuments to World War II and Afghanistan. This was followed by the Krasnoyarsk chapel on the hill and ended with the statue of the founder of Krasnoyarsk, the Cossack

On Saturday we were at the flea market where we heard a loud explosion. Being American’s in a foreign country, we all flocked together and began looking around wondering if that was a car bomb. It was scary! Today we found out it is actually a canon that is shot off at the chapel each day at noon! No wonder the Russians were all laughing at us!

An enjoyable day! We will be leaving for the orphanage again at 8:00 tomorrow morning!

3 days to Pick up!

Today we went to the orphanage at 2:00 in the afternoon. Because we did this, we were able to eat Breakfast and then Dinner rather than a small amount for an early breakfast and then a late Lunch. It was a nice change.

We got to the orphanage a little after 3:00 this afternoon. On the way, Pat videotaped some of our trip showing that there are no discernable lanes. In addition, we discovered that the red light is optional! We did stop at a red light and then rolled into the middle of the intersection and then slowly moved on through it! I think we made it all the way through before the light turned green. Our driver just chuckled when we said something about it. We also discovered that Road Rage does happen in Russia. It just isn’t as common. Today’s ride was typical of our trips to the orphanage. When we return home, we’ll play the video for anyone willing to watch. But, we warn you, you may feel a little sick to your stomach just watching the video!

Anyway, when we got to the orphanage, we were taken to the usual playroom and then met there by Aidan. He didn’t cry this time when he saw us! He only whimpered a little but then came over and sat on my lap as usual. I did get him up from my lap pretty quick and we went around the room and played a lot. He laughed and smiled with us much more than he has of late and we had some real fun! Until it was time for him to be picked up, that is. He did cry and say “Nyet!” when I tried to go to comfort him when his caretaker hadn’t shown up. He did allow me, though, to take his hand and walk him back down the stairs to his caretaker. Then he turned and smiled at me and said “Paca!” I hope that’s a good sign!

When we got back, we all went to the Irish Pub for dinner. Not so Irish, although it was a Pub. Very smoky! I think we all left there with our stomachs not so full of food but our lungs definitely plenty full of smoke! I was going to wear this shirt again, but not now!

After dinner we went to the grocery store to stock up on water and soda and a few items of baby foods. We’re ready now!

A final comment on today: When travelling in a foreign country, please always remember how it is in our own country. We really want people to respect us and our customs. Perhaps we should remember that when visiting other countries as well. Just a thought.

Tomorrow we are back to our 8:00 am pick up for the orphanage. Two more days. . .then we pick up Aidan and bring him back to the hotel with us!